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Int J Public Health. 2012 Aug;57(4):673-8. doi: 10.1007/s00038-012-0335-3.

Does parental involvement make a difference in school-based nutrition and physical activity interventions? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Belgium.



Parental involvement is often advocated as important for school-based interventions, however, to date, only inconsistent evidence is available. Therefore, this study aimed at determining the impact of parental involvement in school-based obesity prevention interventions in children and adolescents.


A systematic review of obesity prevention studies published from 1990 to 2010 including a comparison between school-based interventions with and without parental component was conducted. Only studies reporting effects on health behaviour-related outcomes were included.


Some positive effects of parental involvement were found on children's behaviours and behavioural determinants. Parental modules including different strategies and addressing several home-related determinants and parenting practices concerning eating and physical activity behaviours were more likely to be effective. However, no conclusive evidence could be provided concerning the added value of parent involvement, because of the paucity of studies to test this hypothesis. The few studies that are available provide inconsistent evidence.


There is a need for more studies comparing school-based interventions with and without a parental component, and dose, strategies and content of parental components of school-based interventions should be better reported in articles.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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